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The Spirit of Giving

November 21, 2013

By: Mara Frazier, Manager, Community Affairs & Darden Foundation

The Spirit of Giving

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In honor of this, I'm reflecting here on a few of my favorite bits of wisdom about philanthropy:

"The best way to find yourself is to lose yourself in the service of others." - Mahatma Gandhi

 "Everybody can be great...because anybody can serve. You don't have to have a college degree to serve. You don't have to make your subject and verb agree to serve. You only need a heart full of grace. A soul generated by love." - Martin Luther King Jr.

"Love cannot remain by itself--it has no meaning. Love has to be put into action and that action is service." - Mother Teresa

I find these particularly inspiring because they were expressed by service doers, not just philosophers, who understand--through experience--the impact service and giving has equally on the lives of others, their own and our world. 

National Philanthropy Day introduces a time of year that brings out our most generous and appreciative side along with an acknowledgement of our blessings. It's the time of year I get to connect my colleagues and departments at Darden to additional service opportunities in their communities where they can deepen relationships and the impact of our company’s community priorities. And our Restaurant Community Grants program is an effort that, at its very essence, is about giving and service at the most local level.

Now in its third year, Darden's Restaurant Community Grants is a local grants program that helps support nonprofit organizations in the hundreds of communities we serve. Each of our restaurants has the opportunity to award a $1,000 grant to a nonprofit in its local community. Last year, that tallied more than $1.9 million to 855 exceptional nonprofits across the United States and Canada--$1,000 at a time. 

This program demonstrates how our restaurant teams extend our service philosophy beyond the walls of our restaurants and into the community. Each team has a hand in selecting where the dollars go and can help their nonprofits throughout the year through support, time or food donations, adding value beyond dollars and making a long-lasting impact on all involved. Fueled by the compassion of our 200,000 employees and a grassroots mentality, this is one example of a program we are extremely proud of and humbled by. Click here to learn more or to apply.

The last few days have been uplifting as individuals and corporations tweet and post about National Philanthropy Day and their charitable efforts, challenging others to generously do and invest the same. And, regardless of the gifts you possess, there is a way for everyone to serve and affect their space in the world on this day or any time of the year. 

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